Have you ever wondered whether you can still sue for personal injuries if you had consumed alcohol prior to an accident?
In one of our cases, our client had been drinking at the Broadbeach Hotel, and then later at the Robina Tavern. In all, he had consumed approximately 10 schooners of full strength beer in an 8 hour period, as well as some snacks.
Upon leaving the tavern a verbal altercation occurred in the carpark between our client, a pedestrian, and the occupants of a motor vehicle. It was alleged by the vehicle’s occupants that our client had placed his hands on the bonnet of the car, causing the driver to fear for his own safety and drive forward. Our client was knocked to the ground, sustaining serious fractures to his foot, leg and ankle.
So, was our client partly to blame for his injuries because of his actions?
We commenced proceedings on behalf of our client in the Supreme Court, and at the trial the Judge found in our client’s favour. He was awarded significant damages and the respondents were ordered to pay his legal costs. In other words, the Judge did not attribute any contributory negligence against our client. A great result!
As far as any contributory negligence by our client was concerned, the Judge found that our client had been very open and honest about his alcohol consumption prior to the accident. Medical evidence also supported the fact that our client wasn’t significantly affected by alcohol consumption to the extent that his capacity to exercise proper care and control for his own safety had been impaired.
Contributory negligence was also dependent upon the trial Judge finding that our client was directly in front of the car when it moved off. The Judge found otherwise and so no contributory negligence was found against our client.
Naturally the respondents were unhappy with the decision made at trial, and lodged an appeal with the issue of contributory negligence to be considered. The appeal Judges looked at whether our client’s intoxication had contributed to his injuries, as well as whether by standing near the car, our client had failed to take precautions for his own safety.
The appeal judges upheld the findings of the trial Judge and the appeal was consequently dismissed with costs. An even greater result!
If you’ve been involved in an accident and you think contributory negligence may be an issue, speak with us and we’ll consider the facts for you.